Abba Jifar II

Abba Jifar II
King of the Kingdom of Jimma
Reign 18781932
Predecessor Abba Gomol
Successor Abba Jofir
Died 1932
Full name
Moti Abba Jifar II
Dynasty Kingdom of Jimma

Moti Abba Jifar II was King of the Gibe Kingdom of Jimma (r. 18781932).


Abba Jifar II was the son of Abba Gomol and Queen Gumiti. He had several wives: Queen Limmiti, who was the daughter of the King of Limmu-Ennarea; Queen Minjo, the daughter of the King of Kaffa; and Queen Sapertiti, also from Limmu-Ennarea.[1]

In the 1880s, Abba Jifar II conquered a portion of the Kingdom of Janjero, which lay east of Jimma, along the Omo River, and incorporated it into his kingdom.

Due to the advice of his mother Queen Gumiti, to avoid the detriments of war, he agreed to submit to Menelik II, negus of Shewa in 1884. In 1886, Abba Jifar II paid peace offerings consisting of "slaves (including eunuchs), ivory, bamboo internodes filled with civet, jars of honey, locally made cloth, spears, shields ornamented with silver plates, and objects of wood (including stools)."[2] Because of these "shrewd politics" (Herbert S. Lewis' words), which included providing military assistance to Menelik in conquering the neighboring kingdoms of Kullo (1889), Walamo (1894), and Kaffa (1897), he was able to preserve the autonomy of Jimma until his death.[3] On the other hand, Alexander Bulatovich states that, when Jimma came under the administration of the national government, Emperor Menelik imprisoned Aba Jifar "for inspiring excessive enthusiasm in his own standing army and trying to entice Abyssinian soldiers to his own service" in Ankober for a year. "When he was freed," Bulatovich continues, "Aba Jefar again received the throne of Jimma from Menelik."[4]

Queen Gumiti also advised him to expand the cultivation of coffee in his kingdom, which provided increased revenue for him and his subjects.

In January 1898, as part of a Red Cross mission to southwestern Ethiopia, Bulatovich visited Jimma, and was the guest of Abba Jifar. While in Jeren, Bulatovich treated the Queen Mother for "a little bronchitis". He left the following description of the king:

Aba Jefar is still a young man -- handsome, well-built, and somewhat in his prime. He has a typical face: a straight thin nose; bright, handsome eyes which shift suspiciously from side to side; a thick black beard; and black, short-cropped, curly hair. His hands are graceful. He wears large gold rings on all his fingers. Dressed in a white shirt and trousers, he has draped over his shoulders the thinnest white shamma. His feet are also very small and handsome, clad in leather sandals.[4]

Towards his later years, Abba Jifar II succumbed to senility. His grandson Abba Jofir attempted to take control and re-assert Jimma's independence. However, Emperor Haile Selassie responded quickly and sent military forces against Abba Jofir. The soldiers brought Abba Jofir back to Addis Ababa, where he was imprisoned.[5]

In 1930, Haile Selassie sent his son-in-law Ras Desta Damtew to assist an enfeebled Abba Jifar II, Abba Jifar II was getting old and appeared to have been losing control of the various parts of Jimma. Desta Damtew assumed the ceremonial title of (Shum) of Jimma, while Abba Jifar II remained King (Negus). When Abba Jifar II died in 1932, the Province of Jimma came under the administration of the national government.


  1. Herbert S. Lewis, A Galla Monarchy: Jimma Abba Jifar, Ethiopia (Madison, Wisconsin, 1965), p. 77.
  2. G.W.B. Huntingford, The Galla of Ethiopia; The Kingdoms of Kafa and Janjero (London: International African Institute, 1955), p. 61.
  3. Lewis, A Galla Monarchy, pp. 45f.
  4. 1 2 "With the Armies of Menelik II, emperor of Ethiopia", translated by Richard Seltzer
  5. Paul B. Henze, Layers of Time, A History of Ethiopia (New York: Palgrave, 2000), p. 208.
Preceded by
Abba Gomol
Kingdom of Jimma Succeeded by
Abba Jofir
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